What Is a Snood Scarf?

Snoods Offer Fashion, Warmth, and Function

There are many types of scarves out there, from the infinity and the comfy blanket scarf, but have you heard of the snood? It seems like a funny name for a fashion accessory, though it's actually quite practical and fun to wear. So, what is a snood, you ask? And why should you consider owning one?

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What Is a Snood Scarf?

Snood scarf
Photo: Courtesy of Etsy.com

For such a simple word, snood has quite a few meanings. In terms of fashion trends, a snood is basically a tubular scarf, much like a large cowl.

The snood differs from an infinity scarf in that the snood sits higher on the neck and can often act like a hood. In contrast, an infinity scarf is more of a looped scarf that sits around the neck. So while an infinity scarf could technically act like a snood, and a snood like an infinity scarf, there are some subtle differences.

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History of the Snood

Hair snood
Women wearing snoods in their hair. George Marks/ Retrofile/ Getty Images

Basically, snood means "hairnet." You have likely seen women wearing them in old black and white photos, movies, and fashionable vintage ads. Snoods were seen as a more stylish way than a hairnet to pull hair away from the face. They were quite popular during the World War II era when women entered the workforce and took over many manual labor jobs previously dominated by men.

However, snoods don't necessarily have to be made of net. Basically, a snood is anything that holds the hair back and in place. Snoods may be made of solid fabric or be knit with some having more open, net-like loops than others.

Traditionally, snoods had more of a sack at the base of the neck like a hair net that would hold long hair. They were very functional and offered a bit of style at the same time. In today's fashion trends, snoods are often chunky knits that are very much like an infinity scarf.

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Snoods for Religious Observances

Hill Street Studios/ Blend Images/ Getty Images

Snoods are also worn by women for religious reasons. Despite the fact that snoods weren't designed to cover the front part of the head and hair, many religious head coverings that do so have been referred to as snoods as well. Typically, these types of snoods are more understated and less ornate than those worn strictly for fashion.

For instance, many married Orthodox Jewish women choose to cover their hair with a fabric head covering. Many have bands that cover the crown of the head with the hair sack in back while others are more of a tied scarf wrap. You could also consider a Muslim hijab and a nun habit a snood. 

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Snoods for Men

Beard Snood
Courtesy of LionHaircare.co.uk

Believe it or not, there are even snoods for men. These are called beard snoods and are designed for hygienic reasons to keep hair covered, just like a hairnet. They're rather common in the food industry, particularly in manufacturing. Admittedly, many of these do not have a lot style, they're far more practical.

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How to Wear a Snood

How to wear a snood scarf
Elke Meitzel/ Cultura/ Getty Images

Accessories are always great ways to give fresh updates to what has been hanging in your closet for some time. If you live in a cold region and need extra warmth, check out the snood scarf to add a layer of protection to your body and to make a fashionable statement.

When you hear that snoods are trendy again, you don't have to go out and buy a hairnet or a beard snood. Instead, you can look for tubular scarves that resemble a turtleneck collar.

Snoods are excellent for warmth and can be worn as a fashion statement on the coldest winter days. On an average day, it can be worn like an infinity scarf to protect your neck from the cold.

When the winds really start whipping around and the snow is falling, you can simply pull the snood over your head and wear it as a hood. It offers protection for your hair and ears from the cold, damp weather.

Long snoods can also be draped around your neck in two loops. This adds a little more texture, especially if you pull one loop a little longer than the other. You get the warmth around your neck while offering the look of a double-wrapped scarf.

Snoods offer a great fashion accessory for chilly autumn and spring days as well. Wear them with leggings while out on your morning walk or use one to dress up your favorite jeans in a comfy-casual type of way.